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Sunday, 30 October 2016 09:04

The Trundle Effect

SATURDAY 29th OCTOBER - University Playing Fields, drizzle.
STM SPORTS 1 LLANELLI TOWN 4 (Nathaniel Cars welsh League Cup)
After weeks of long-distance outings, time for a change: the cheap train fares are over and the weather's deteriorating. Besides, this weekend provides two very attractive options without having to leave the city of Cardiff. First up is a Welsh League Cup tie that brings Llanelli Town to Llanrumney. I've been waiting for an opportunity to watch Town, and their inspired signing Lee Trundle, and now a couple come along in a week (The Reds are at Taff's Well in the Welsh Cup on Friday too).

The two-bus journey across to the east of the city takes its time and I find myself running later than planned and arriving ten minutes before kick-off. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise, as it turns out I've arrived ahead of the visitors, who are stuck in traffic on the M4. The planned 2.30 kick-off is put back, and the STM team, in green, carry on with a much-extended warm-up. The rest of us wait in the light drizzle for something to happen. The red-shirted visitors start to appear on the 3G pitch at about a quarter to three, followed a few minutes later by the three officials. At 2.55, we finally have a game.

Published in Football
Thursday, 18 August 2016 07:07

Mission Accomplished

WEDNESDAY 17th AUGUST. The Willows, humid.
BRIDGEND STREET 3 YNYSYGERWN 0 (Nathaniel Car Sales Welsh League Cup, Round 1)
Another warm day gives way to a muggy evening in Cardiff. Rain is forecast - having watched a game in balmy, sunny conditions last night, it would perhaps be too much to expect that twice in a season. This is not Brazil, after all.

The Welsh League is sensibly using these light summer evenings to get the early rounds of the league cup out of the way, and the draw has rather unkindly brought Neath-based league newcomers Ynysygerwn all the way to the capital on a Wednesday evening. My bus takes 45 minutes to complete the four mile journey into town, so I feel for the west Walians.

At The Willows, £3 admission and £1 for a programme secures my evening's entertainment in friendly and agreeable surroundings - for while Tremorfa isn't scenic, the bright red-painted ground that 'The Mission' have created here enhances it no end. I'm in a crowd of about 60-70 here, while, over at Leckwith, almost 20,000 have chosen to pay up to ten times more to watch City's attempts to score their first goal of the season. I know where I'd rather be.

Published in Football

SATURDAY 9th JANUARY: Cyncoed Campus, heavy rain.
CARDIFF MET UNI. 1 PONTYPRIDD TOWN 2 (Nathaniel Cars League Cup Round 3)
The weather dominates the week again: a brief respite from the rain gets me hopefully planning trips west or north this Saturday. Then things take a turn for the worse again, options start to narrow once again. By Friday I'm back to playing safe again - stay local, see what's left on in the morning - and by mid-morning almost everything on grass has been called off. 3G options remain, and Cardiff Met v Pontypridd looks the most interesting.

At 12.15 I set off to walk across north Cardiff to the campus, with just a spot of rain here and there; within fifteen minutes steady rain has set in again and the walk turns out to be wetter than expected. At least the Mets' ground isn't short on shelter.

Today's league cup tie is a meeting of two in-form sides, and although two divisions separate them, I'm not at all convinced that Ponty come here as outsiders, as their recent Division 3 form is very strong (particularly a midweek win over Abergavenny). On copying down the line-ups, this feeling is increased, since the University teamsheet contains ten names not even listed in the 22-strong first team squad in the programme! At first sight, that seems to be a difference between the sides - Ponty's starting line-up is made up entirely of players listed in the programme - but it turns out the they are changed too, after the exertions of their midweek league win, with a different back four and midfield, and a teenage debutant.

Published in Football

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